Be the Change

You must be the change you see in the world- Mahatma Gandhi

I was inspired by change when attending the #140confONT a couple of weeks ago in Kitchener. The concept was of the 140 Conference was developed by Jeff Pulver (@jeffpulver) to create opportunities for people to come together and share how social media in some way has changed their lives. The stories we heard at the 1st Canadian conference were profound and more than once throughout the day I found myself choking back tears as people bravely stood up on stage, recounting some of the lowest, most challenging, most amazing moments of their lives. Many people had different perspectives on the conference, some loved the connections they made, the networking opportunity, the stories. What it left me the most with was how much change was the integral part of so many of those stories. How sometimes it is entirely up to you and you alone to take a leap and make something happen. What you find out more often than not, is that as much as you think you are alone in that leap, you have people there to support you.

Even perfect strangers.

Or they start off that way. Then simply, quietly, from just starting a conversation, you find kinship in a sea of social media. And suddenly, these conversations very easily and very quickly can turn into tremendous friendships in real life.  They become your motivators, your cheerleaders to change/do/create/jump…simply by their strength of character, personality and words.

Those words can impact you tremendously.These speakers from the #140confONT spoke words that got to me, right in the heart and have created a sense of needing to push forward, to make things happen, to follow my heart in things I want to accomplish.

@tjzmommy recounted her heartbreaking loss of her son and how it motivated her to work towards fundraising and creating incredible rooms in the children’s ward of the hospital that Zack stayed in

@MattScobel talked about his dozens of ideas he had had in the past that never went anywhere and coming up with the idea of taking used Macs to Africa by creating @ProjectMacAfrica. The change, this time, he simply did it..and made it happen.

@karmicevolution bravely retold the story of finding out the day that she was homeless that day that she came home with her newborn baby. The entire audience was crying along with her as she recounted everything she needed to do to take care of her child and how through social media she met tons of people who gave her the support she needed when she needed it most

Almost everyone at the conference were tremendous motivators in connecting that Change is Good. That You, yourself needs to be the catalyst for change if you want something to be different in your life, but you need to take action. What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid? (Spencer Johnson-Who Moved My Cheese?)

I have always believed that I was destined for something different in my life. Part of something unexpected but have been afraid of failure along the way. The truth is, I want a few things to be different in my life and so I’m coming along to a world of no fear. Working towards thinking and maintaining positive energy towards of a world of possibilities.  I have goals…lofty goals.. but I figure by putting these down in writing, it will only help motivate me further to focus on what I have to do to put these ideas into action. So here goes:

* Change the perspective of Autism and look at new ways to teach children that helps them connect on their plane of learning vs trying to fit them in the box that is currently school and its curriculum

* Be part of something new in Africa that recognizes the challenges they face in education and creating education & learning opportunities that works for them

* Create an awareness and appreciation for what the men & women of our Canadian Forces do for our country

* Once I am done a half marathon, working towards a full (did I really just put that one in writing?)

Will keep you posted on the outcome. In the meantime, no fear.


It’s Official


I was going to step away from this. Between managing my business and managing our house, I felt like I was running out of time on the spectrum of work/life balance and heading back into the world of “work” too much. I left corporate candyland to concentrate on finding that balance.

But the summer taught me a number of incredible lessons and I am dedicated to getting back on track in sharing information and connecting with other members in the Autism/ Mom/ Family/Entrepreneur communities. I have discovered that the social media world can be a great outlet; An absolutely fabulous place to connect with people you might never have met; and a meeting place of kindred spirits that just make your days so much brighter.

It was partially because of Twitter that encouraged me to make the statement that I am about to make..

I have signed up for a Half Marathon this fall. That’s right. The chick who couldn’t even get past 5 k this Spring is en route to the biggest physical challenge of her life. (and aside from a few nagging sore hips) is completely unafraid of something that used to terrify me. Failure.

In the past, I wouldn’t have tried this. Wouldn’t even thought there was a possibility..but I have to say, you actually start “training” for something like this and it becomes a lot easier and more approachable than you could ever imagine. You see there is this so called brand (Running Room) with a nutty (see: Brilliant) marketing strategy wherein they invite you to their store to help you get ready for a race, all the while talking up products they have available for purchase and keeping you motivated to stay on course. We started with a 5K clinic in March, proceeded to a 10K clinic in May and were confident enough with our efforts and training that we have made the decision to go for it and run this fall in our first half marathon!

I ran at first because I was angry. Dealing with a sudden diagnosis of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) completely threw our world upside down. Navigating the course of Special Needs support in Toronto had me beyond frustrated and ready to give up. While getting support for your child is essential, we quickly discovered that resources are so very limited, waiting lists are long and sometimes the workers within those areas are unsympathetic. My guess is that they see so many families in some of the worst moods on the planet and have simply become desensitized to protect themselves from the emotional draw this must have on their own mindset.

So I used running as my own outlet to pour out the heartache I didn’t want to burden my friends, husband, family with as I watched them all accept/adjust to this in different ways. But then something changed, I started talking about Autism. Online. Getting into conversations, reading blogs, following advocates on Twitter and being able to admit not being very strong to a random group of strangers. I started looking at running at personal goals I could achieve for myself that I could be proud of and started participating in fabulous communities/hashtags on Twitter like #momswhorun #momsrunning with a group of moms who are inspiring, motivating and simply (like me) taking it one day at a time.